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These Daily Updates for this month represent just one month in over a decade of connecting the dots on our area's environmental situation.
Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL STORY ABOUT THE ROCHESTER, NY AREA FROM A CREDIBLE SOURCE? SEND IT TO ME! Looking for something specific. Use Control + F and search for it on this page.
These daily updates pertain to what is going on in our environment in Rochester & around the world. Although I do not see RochesterEnvironment.com, or Global Environmental Resources, as environmental activist sites, I do view them as active. They are active conduits for all the environmental news, services, links, and an on-going discovery for the potential role that I believe the Internet will play in environmentalism. Your local news media is not doing its job in informing the public on the breath and depth of our environmental problems, so you are going to have to get on the Internet.
10/31/2015 - Not just environmentalists, Humanity should demand an accounting for EXXON’s misleading the public on Climate Change. Environmental groups demand inquiry after Exxon 'misled public' on climate In call for attorney general to investigate, top activists say company acted deceptively despite knowing about climate change ‘as early as the 1970s’ Leading US environmental campaigners have joined a diverse line-up of pressure groups to demand a federal investigation into allegations that the oil giant ExxonMobil illegally covered up the truth about climate change. Earlier in the week, first Bernie Sanders and then Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidates, called for the US government to announce an official investigation. On Friday morning, 350.org, an environmental movement, issued a letter signed by climate campaigners, civil rights organizations, indigenous people’s groups and others, calling on US attorney general Loretta Lynch to investigate. (October 30, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/31/2015 - Really important article from Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter newsletter on the importance of the COP21 Paris Climate Summit. I am impressed at how quickly and thoroughly this article covers the background of this historic summit coming up in just one month. A march in support of our leaders taking action at Paris is in the development stage, a march on November 29th, though downtown Rochester. We hope you will help demonstrate how important Paris is to Rochester. Details of this march will be forthcoming. Climate talks to convene in hottest year ever The ‘ExxonMobil effect’clouds prospects for success in Paris In 1977, the leaders of ExxonMobil were told that burning oil would heat up the planet disastrously. Their top scientific minds agreed that this greenhouse effect was caused by man-made carbon dioxide, and there was a short window of 5 or 10 years in which to make hard decisions about changes in energy strategy. The Department of Energy knew about this research. Not only did Exxon cover up this information, it spent millions in disinformation and outright lies to maintain business as usual and increase its profits. ExxonMobil fueled a culture of denial that continues to be deep and pervasive even as it uses our tax money for more exploration. At the same instant of the above revelation, the tabulators of global warming at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stand aghast at what is happening, and happening far faster than most climate scientists expected. It is not just that 2015 is the hottest year ever—it is a lot hotter. The planet is leaping into a new era, and there is no indication that we may reach a plateau in which to catch our breath. All the temperature anomalies from 1880 to 1940 were below the mean. From 1978 to 2015, all anomalies were not only above the mean, they were way above the mean. The change on the chart is massive and inescapable. Heat is taking over. (Sierra Atlantic Newsletter Volume 41, Fall 2015 Sierra Atlantic) [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/31/2015 - Much of the debate about Climate Change is swamped in how it should be messaged. Should we assign blame? (Yeah, we can blame EXXON for lying to us, but not all the blame goes to EXXON.) Should we be hopeful? (Yes, we should message hope, but hope based on realistic action, not burying our heads in the sand.) Should we be nice? (We should be respectful of honest dialogue, but adamant about addressing climate denial.) Should we tell the truth? (Yes.) If we should tell the truth about Climate Change (of course, we should) then we should be heralding that 2 °C warming is inevitable. We are almost to 2 °C warming and there is no way we can stop a 2C world. It would be nice to say we can keep our temperatures below 2C, but that is so unlikely as to be a fact that 2C is coming. We must prevent it from getting any warmer than 2C. We must admit that a 2 °C warming is inevitable because we must begin adapting to this warmer world—which in our Rochester, NY region we are already experiencing many changes and many more changes to come. We must admit to a 2C world because even for those political leaders who have denied manmade Climate Change and have mislead the public by their denial and silence, they will have to prepare the public for the inevitable changes. If our leaders haven’t been planning (perhaps hoping that the rest of the world can keep warming below 2 °C of warming) then they will be held accountable for not being able to protect us from what is coming. The climate fact no one will admit: 2 °C warming is inevitable It is time to start preparing for a world more than 2 °C warmer than now. The UN’s own analysis of what countries are offering to do to limit greenhouse gas emissions shows they fall far short of what’s required. In fact, they suggest the world will have emitted enough carbon dioxide to warm the planet 2 °C by around 2036. These offers, formally known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs, will be the basis of the global treaty on climate change to be finalised in Paris in December. It was always clear thatthis treaty would not go nearly far enough to limit warming to 2 °C by 2100, but now the numbers are in. Ahead of the meeting, 119 INDCs have been submitted, representing 147 countries and 88 per cent of current emissions. The UN has now released a synthesis report analysing what impact they will have. It concludes that even if countries stick to them, annual global emissions will hit 43 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) by 2030 – and will still be rising. (October 30, 2015) New Scientist [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/31/2015 - COP21 Paris Climate Summit is a month away. Hope is based on realistic expectations. Time passes. Paris Agreement Could Put Leash Around Global Warming World governments are cooperating as they work to slip a leash around the monstrous problem of global warming, but new analysis shows that leash will need to be severely tightened in the coming years if damage from future warming is to be meaningfully reduced. There is a month remaining before a critical two-week U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change begins in Paris. Following years of talks, most of the world’s governments have announced the pledges that they plan to offer under the hoped-for Paris climate pact, even as the draft agreement continues to take shape. On Friday, the United Nations released its analysis of those pledges, showing that the global populace is beginning to pursue a rich medley of approaches for stemming warming — and for adapting to it. (October 30, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/30/2015 - Candidates for public offices will be responsible for planning and protecting your way of life in a warmer world—if you let them win. Vote in a climate denier and you’ll be on your own and quickly out of money from playing catch up to disasters. Charleston’s Floods Illustrate the World’s Watery Future The swollen rivers only dropped back to normal water levels last week, but flood-weary Charleston, S.C. is already seeing water in the streets again. This time it’s not a 1,000-year deluge from the sky, it’s high tide. The so-called “king tides” are a natural occurrence. Unusually high tides occur several times each year, often depending on the moon’s orbit and alignment with the earth and sun. King tides only cause flooding for a few hours around high tide, yet they still cause damage and inconvenience for coastal dwellers. (October 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/29/2015 - Been hearing a lot about this year’s COP21 Paris Climate Summit and want to know more? Here’s a great way to get a quick outline of the COP21’s importance and even get involved in ratcheting this information up. Climate Countdown “2015 is the year for the global community to tackle the climate change crisis. This web-series – Climate Countdown – maps out what scientists, activists, policy makers and citizens are actually doing to solve this problem. We explore different facets of this complex issue and break it down into bite- sized bits. Join us as we follow the people who are crafting paths toward a pivotal global climate change agreement this December in Paris – COP21.”
10/29/2015 - Two thoughts on this story about El Niño’s effect on driving CO2 levels higher: 1. Climate Change will magnify the effects of other weather and climate drivers. 2. If there was no manmade Climate Change at this time, we should be experiencing a return to a period of glaciations, as the historical pattern of the Holocene indicates. We are not, our glaciers are melting like mad. Quickly warming up the planet with greenhouse gases is going to set off a cascade of events, many we aren’t ever aware of yet. We should be bringing down greenhouse gas concentrations and adapting to the warming already in the system—before we are overwhelmed. El Niño Could Push CO2 Permanently Above Milestone El Niño has its fingers in a lot of pies this year: Not only is it helping to boost 2015 toward the warmest year on record, but it is also a major factor in blockbuster hurricane activity in the Pacific and is contributing to a major worldwide coral die-off. By this time next year we’ll probably be able to add another effect to that list: This El Niño is likely to tip us over into a world with carbon dioxide concentrations permanently above 400 parts per million. “Will daily values at Mauna Loa ever fall below 400 ppm again in our lifetimes? I’m prepared to project that they won’t, making the current values the last time the Mauna Loa record will produce numbers in the 300s,” Ralph Keeling, the director of the CO2 Program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in an Oct. 21 blog post. (October 28, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/29/2015 - An interesting aspect of the House Science Committee’s search for ‘secret science’ behind Climate Change by trying to snort through US scientists’s emails (hoping for another Climategate hoax just before a major climate talk, like what happened before the Copenhagen climate talk) is that the science behind Climate Change is testable and peer-reviewed science is behind all the science around the world. Even in the House’s most climate denying dream world, where they find some ‘gattcha’ emails, there would have to be a worldwide conspiracy to thwart the US House climate deniers for this expensive, email witch-hunt to many any sense. The world science community is not conducting a worldwide conspiracy to push Climate Change down the US’s throat, as the very nature of the scientific process resists untestable falsities. This spat between NOAA and the House Science Committee highlights the crisis caused by a powerful group of deniers who can thwart the efforts of our country to engage and lead the rest of the nations towards a successful climate treaty—and future actions to make our way of life sustainable. NOAA Stiff-Arms House Science Committee Subpoena Questioning 'Hiatus' Study The agency refused to turn over scientists’ emails about a study that debunks a theory favored by climate deniers, including committee chair Lamar Smith. Citing confidentiality and the integrity of the scientific process, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) chose not to turn over all the documents demanded in a subpoena from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. (October 28, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/28/2015 - If you want to stop Climate Change in Rochester, NY you have to help Indonesia, and Africa, and … This Could Be the Worst Climate Crisis in the World Right Now Indonesia's deforestation nightmare is choking thousands and making climate change worse. On Monday afternoon, Indonesian President Joko Widodo cut short a visit to the United States and headed home to oversee efforts to extinguish a rash of epic wildfires that have engulfed his country. Joko was in Washington, DC, for a photo op with President Barack Obama, to talk about climate change, and to promote Indonesia as a choice venue for foreign investors. His trip was also supposed to include a stopover in San Francisco for meetings with tech industry executives. But Joko's decision to return to Indonesia early underscores the challenges his country faces in stopping the worst deforestation on Earth—deforestation that is playing a critical role in global climate change. (October 27, 2015) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/28/2015 - ACTION: Make public comment in Rochester on New York's energy future: Thursday, November 5, 2015 | Rochester City Hall City Council Chambers, 30 Church St., Rochester, NY 14614 | 6 - 7 PM Information Session; 7PM Public Statement Hearing NYS REFORMING THE ENERGY VISION (REV) HEARING Rochester City Hall City Council Chambers, 30 Church St., Rochester, NY 14614 • NYS Notice of Public Statement Hearings: here • Mark Dunlea’s testimony: here • Mark Dunlea’s suggested talking points: here. Thank you Mark and Green Education and Legal Fund of NY: http://gelfny.org/ [Event notice from our friends over at R-Cause] Watch this short video to learn more abut REV here.
10/28/2015 - Yesterday’s symposium at Nazareth College of Rochester, the Mini-Chautauqua in Rochester- On a Planet in Peril and Our Moral Responsibility, was a demonstration about how diverse views on reality can come together on the crisis of Climate Change and find common ground. One of my favorite quotes from the symposium had to do with how the growing gathering of small pockets of diverse groups on the common theme of addressing Climate Change will eventually emerge into all of humanity finding solutions for the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. Understanding how many cultures around the world view Climate Change affords a better opportunity for all of us to communicate more effectively on this crisis and find solutions.
10/28/2015 - The Paris Climate Summit is coming soon. This summit will be historic in humanity’s history and provide the basis for hope in addressing Climate Change. “The much-anticipated final deal would be the first to include all the world’s nations into a single arena for climate action.” World leaders to attend Paris climate summit At least 80 world leaders, including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, David Cameron and Narendra Modi, will join talks aiming to forge a new global climate deal At least 80 world leaders, including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, David Cameron and Narendra Modi, will attend a summit tasked with agreeing a global climate pact in Paris in December. Diplomats endorsed the outlines of the proposed deal in Bonn on Friday after five days of fraught negotiation that highlighted just how much work remains to be done in Paris. The aim is to unite all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change, with the goal of capping warming at 2C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. (October 28, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/27/2015 - We don’t know if the invasive species Asian Carp will wreck the Great Lakes ecosystem, but we do know that once the carp get into this ecosystem we’ll never get them out. We didn’t prevent the Zebra Mussels from getting into our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes—and maybe we should have tried harder. That would have been very inconvenient. We do know that the Zebra Mussel invasion has had a profound economic and environmental effect on these lakes. If the Asian Carp (anyone of the three species coming our way) gets into the Great Lakes, they may make the destructive Zebra Mussel invasion look small in comparison. Mich. lawmakers find new urgency to stop Asian carp Michigan lawmakers in Congress say the results of a new federal study illustrate the urgency to empower the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do more to prevent Asian carp from infiltrating the Great Lakes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week released a study showing smaller fish species such as the invasive Asian carp could inadvertently travel upstream with commercial barge traffic through electric barriers intended to stop them from reaching the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Basin. (October 23, 2015) The Detroit News [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]
10/27/2015 - You see, what those who say addressing Climate Change will cost too much actually mean is too costly now--screw tomorrow. Trying to adapt to an environment that we allowed to warm dramatically will become prohibitively expensive. As we come down to the wire on mitigating Climate Change it’s interesting that much of the feet dragging centers around cost—financial cost. It is as if the only way humanity can now view reality is through the lens of our present economics. But this is crazy. The physics behind Climate Change is making it abundantly clear, since 200 thousand years of our specie’s existence didn’t already crystalize, that Mother Nature rules. We need to adjust our economies to fit the problem of Climate Change. The other way around is maladaptive. Global warming could be more devastating for the economy than we thought A new study finds that global warming will curb economic growth even in most wealthy countries A new study published in Nature by scientists at Stanford and UC Berkeley has made waves for its finding that thus far we have dramatically underestimated the damage human-caused climate change will do to the global economy. By looking at data from 160 countries across the 50-year period from 1960 to 2010, the authors found that an average local temperature of 13°C (55°F) is economically optimal, particularly for agricultural productivity. That temperature roughly reflects the current climate in many wealthy countries like the USA, Japan, France, and China. (October 27, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/27/2015 - As we get down to the wire on the Paris climate summit, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots widens threatening the survival of all. With humanity nearing our ability to keep away from the danger zone of 2C, we’ll finally answer that age old question about human priorities: Your money or your life? Bonn climate talks fail to cut rich-poor divide Negotiations to smooth the way towards a new global agreement on tackling climate change ended without closing deep rifts between developed and developing countries. The world is hoping for a positive outcome at the UN climate change conference in Paris in early December to head off potentially catastrophic climate change. Judged by the outcome of a five-day preparatory meeting in Bonn, the outlook is not good. Once again, delegates from around the world argued about cash, with developing and poorer countries accusing wealthier nations of reneging on promises to provide more money to fight a warming climate and adapt to climate change. The developing world argues that many poorer countries are already feeling the effects of climate change – caused mainly by the greenhouse gas emissions of the richer nations. (October 26, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/22/2015 - What horrifies me most about EXXON Climate Change cover-up is how complacent most media and humanity are about it. (This story is already fading in the news.) We’ve come to think money and the power of corporations to provide jobs are so important that our attitudes towards this EXXON cover-up of what they knew about Climate Change and what they subsequently did (cover up their research and lie about the dangers of Climate Change) gets diminished in our mind and we shrug off the incredible predicament this crime has put us in. We have lost our sense of priorities when we are willing to ignore corporate behavior that will seriously challenge our ability to survive. Get the whole story from Inside Climate News: EXXON The Road Not Taken.
10/22/2015 - Hard to believe that a candidate for Monroe County Executive displays such poor attitude towards Climate Change, a crisis that the next county executive will be required to protect and prepare the public. “Asked if she believes in climate change, Dinolfo did not say, but did promise to promote renewable energy through county purchases.” Dinolfo’s dodge of the Climate Change elephant in our future is probably based on a belief that the public doesn’t understand or care about Climate Change. To not even talk about Climate Change at this late date, thinking it’s the best political strategy to win this crucial election, is pathetic and a grave lack of responsibility to the public. Voting a climate denier into office would be a great tragedy. Not all the candidates for Monroe County Executive are huddling behind climate science denial to win this election. To find out how Frankel responds to Climate Change, check out her webpage describing her position. Monroe County Executive candidates squared off at News 8 WROC-TV Studio Issues addressed include poor children, taxes, and the carousel at Ontario Beach (October 21, 2015) RochesterFirst.com
10/22/2015 - Trying to reintroduce the mighty Atlantic sturgeon will be tough with the warmer waters of Climate Change and propellers. We almost exterminated the sturgeon back in the day from fishing and from the sheer mass slaughtering of this might beast or our rivers. (We killed them in such fantastic numbers we used them for fertilizing our farm fields.) But now we are trying to re-introduce this keystone species into our riparian ecosystems with the challenges of pollution, warmer water than they evolved with via Climate Change, and now we learn that boat propellers are heaping on the unlikelihood of this critical species getting reestablished into our waters. We have much to learn and do about getting our New York State wildlife situated so that they can thrive in a modern world that is warming quickly. How’s that going? Hudson murder mystery: Who's killing sturgeon? More than 110 Atlantic sturgeon have been found dead in the Hudson River since construction began on the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the watchdog group Riverkeeper says. Buy Photo (Photo: File photo/The Journal News) The trail of death reads like the grim jottings of a homicide detective. "Floating belly up, looks like side is sliced open," one entry reads. "Head missing and pectoral area gone," reads another. "Beacon, among the sailboat moorings," reads a July 1 entry. Culled from eyewitness accounts kept by the state, the entries chart a surge in reported deaths of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon in the Hudson River over the past three years. (October 14, 2015) LoHud [more on Wildlife in our area]
10/22/2015 - In these last moments in Bonn before Paris, where progress slows and frustration builds, let’s hope humanity gives in to its better angels. If humanity fails at Paris, hope will be harder to grasp. Daily Tck: Day 3 of the UN climate talks in Bonn Progress slows, with frustration brewing over process and some developed countries taking a hard line on climate finance Civil society groups remain blocked from text negotiations, with Japan leading the effort to keep our partners out of the room New analysis point to success in delinking emissions from economic growth and increasing electricity demand After a stormy beginning Monday, and the sun shining down on an improved negotiating textTuesday, hope once again gave way to frustration on Wednesday as progress on streamlining options for Paris slowed to a crawl. In particular the Finance discussions were polarized. We’re hearing that the Umbrella Group – which includes Australia, Japan, Canada and the US, among others – pushed back on the agreement including explicit provisions to scale up developed country climate finance. (October 22, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/22/2015 - The question becomes not if Fracking spews methane GHGs into our atmosphere but how: Inter-well communication. It seems like when Fracking wells ‘talk’ to each other they their bad breath is a climate-warming gas, according to a new study. It’s amazing how much information keeps coming out of Fracking studies after so many thousands of wells have been drilled. Shouldn’t Fracking have been proven safe before even the first well was fracked? Study Targets Methane Leaks Between Underground Wells Hydraulic fracturing can form cracks that can connect new shale gas wells to nearby abandoned wells, possibly allowing methane to leak into the atmosphere or aquifers underground, according to a University of Vermont study published this week. The study is one of the latest efforts to answer an elusive question: How do fracked oil and gas wells leak methane and other hydrocarbons into underground aquifers and into the atmosphere? (October 21, 2015) Climate Central [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
10/21/2015 - The rising cost of U.S. hurricane damage should concern Americans who largely depend on their government to help them recover from extreme weather events—which will be increasing in intensity and frequency because of Climate Change. Our government, the insurers of last resort, do not have an infinite amount of money for recovery—especially when conservatives who are constantly railing about funding Big Government gut our public safety net programs like FEMA, then beg for these precious public monies when their ox is being gored. (Like Governor Christie after Hurricane Sandy, and Sen. Graham after the flooding in South Carolina.) [read: FEMA to deny funds to warming deniers] Climate Change is going to be very costly, and prohibitively so if we continue business as usual. Study: Climate change adding billions to U.S. hurricane costs The cost of U.S. hurricane damage has increased dramatically from 1900 to 2005 as a result of man-made climate change, an economic study released Monday concludes. "The rise in losses is consistent with an influence of global warming on the number and intensity of hurricanes, an influence which may have accounted for 2% to 12% of the U.S. hurricane losses in 2005," according to the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Geoscience. (October 19, 2015) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/21/2015 - Our ability to monitor Climate Change from above is a critical feedback tool for measuring our progress on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. Not to mention all this information puts to rest any doubt about Climate Change happening right now. Watch this short video: Space tools for Earth.
10/21/2015 - Seems like the US Senate is one of the big bullies in the room fuming at the world trying to save itself. Everyone, our negotiators, our President, our country, and many of the other countries have to tip-toe around the angry, stubborn US Senate who doesn’t want anyone taking its toys, or playing with them, or anyone having their own toys either. The US Senate, under GOP leadership, seems to be that soiled child in the playroom who has to be appeased or else no gets to play. Paris climate deal unlikely to need Senate approval, says US envoy Todd Stern tells Capitol Hill committee new UN climate deal will be crafted under existing treaties, bypassing requirements for lawmaker approval Republicans will be fuming. The rest of the world may breathe a little easier. The US Senate is unlikely to have a veto over a proposed global climate deal. That is the view of Todd Stern, climate envoy to President Barack Obama, who says the pact under discussion will not require a new treaty or new US laws. Stern was speaking during an interrogation by Senators on Capitol Hill, a venue with distinctly mixed views on the UN and efforts to crack down on greenhouse gas emissions. (October 21, 2015) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/20/2015 - It’s been difficult to message the crisis of Climate Change because (at least in terms of human attention span) is has been a complicated and very drawn out affair, over decades, over years…. But things are coming to a head in Paris next month, where we will have either received the message that our leaders need to act quickly to bring down greenhouse gas emission, or we haven’t. If we have gotten the message, there is hope. If we still haven’t got the message, there will be much less hope. It would be nice if our local media would, at this eleventh hour, take a moment from their usual coverage and describe the state of affairs with Climate Change at this point in time. The local public seems unaware of this historic benchmark coming in Paris that will change everything—they will have slept though their chance to make a difference in their future. If Paris fails, we may not be able to prevent catastrophic environmental tipping points that will make our life support system too hot to handle. 24 Videos That Turn the Tide on Climate Change Global demand for climate action is reaching a tipping point. Here’s a look back at how we got there. As the UN climate talks in Paris grow closer, the volume of the media conversation about this historic event is steadily rising from a low murmur into nearly a scream. And unlike in the build-up to past climate talks, this time, the world is watching every development closely. But this story starts long before this month, or even before the latest round of negotiations began. It starts about five years ago, as the climate movement was just getting back on its feet after a series of significant setbacks. With the breakdown of UN talks in Copenhagen still fresh in the memory and even the most committed supporters searching for reasons for hope, activists fought to keep the world’s attention on the urgency of solving climate change. But they did keep fighting and as events like Superstorm Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan led many to accept the reality of this crisis, the conversation turned to extreme weather, the costs of carbon pollution, and finally, our many reasons for hope that we will solve this crisis, together. (October 19, 2015) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/20/2015 - Paris is set to go further in addressing than any other climate talks, but will that matter? It’s great that our leaders are coming to the table; it’s great that they are trying harder than ever before to bring down greenhouse gas emissions and do so justly; and it’s great that we’ll probably be able to keep the climate talks going after Paris. But if the numbers don’t add up to a real reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we will cook. Climate Pledges Too Weak to Avert Disaster World leaders gathering in Paris in December for the 21st annual UN Climate Conference, COP21, are expected to sign a legally-binding international agreement to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Ahead of the conference, organizers have requested that countries submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by an amount that supposed to be “fair and ambitious.” To date, 150 INDCs have been submitted from all regions of the world, representing a coverage of almost 90 percent of global emissions, much more than in the past. But Members of the European Parliament last week expressed concern that the early analysis of tabled INDCs would result in the global average temperature rising by between 2.7 degrees and 3.5 degrees Celsius. (October 19, 2015) Environment News Service (ENS) [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/19/2015 - This bill on prohibiting the use of Styrofoam doggy bags at restaurants is a good idea. Even our landfills don’t like that stuff, let alone Mother Nature. Consider bringing your own recyclable doggy bags when you go to a restaurant. We do, it’s easy peasy. NY Lawmaker wants ban Styrofoam doggy bags A state lawmaker says the state should prohibit the use of Styrofoam doggy bags at restaurants. Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, a Democrat, says he has written legislation that would make it illegal for restaurants to use the Styrofoam containers when diners ask to take leftovers home. (October 18, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]
10/19/2015 - By the time that North Dakota Bakken crude oils get drilled out the ground, loaded on railcars, and shipped through our communities, it’s already got blood on it. Stop Explosive Oil Trains! Find out if you are in the blast zone and sign the petition. There is a fiftyfold increase in local transport of volatile crude oil trains (which are not and cannot be properly designed to carry this dangerous oil) through our region. Check to see if you are in the blast zone, and Take action and put a stop to this! From our friends over at Mothers Out Front! Really take a moment to find out about this clean and present danger in our community and take action here. | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: North Dakota (HBO) North Dakota is known for being polite, but perhaps they’ve been a little too hospitable to oil companies. (October 11, 2015) LastWeekTonight YouTube.
10/17/2015 - The characterization of Fracking concerns in this article are very misleading—which has been a continual problem throughout the Fracking debate in New York since it began over seven years ago. New York State officially banned Fracking on June 29, 2015. This has led to a big backlash from those who wanted New Yorkers and landowners to profit from this dangerous, fossil fuel extraction process. The New York ban hinged on Fracking’s danger to our water and public health. But a far more wider net has been thrown over the Fracking process—which is still being debated around the world. Fracking not only potentially endangers our water and public health, it creates methane leaks which warm the planet; it creates a massive fossil fuel infrastructure that challenges our ability to create a more healthier, and better local job-producing renewable energy infrastructure. We don’t need more Fracking studies, there are a zillion of these studies that anyone can Google. What we need is a change of attitude about how we use energy—which we now know is not only an economic issue, it is a moral issue. Using more fossil fuels and continuing to build more fossil fuel infrastructure as our planet warms beyond dangerous greenhouse gas emission levels is the wrong way to go that this pivotal time in history. The COP21 Paris Climate Conference is coming up soon, where the entire world community is trying to keep greenhouse gas levels at a sustainable level. Folks from around the world are pressing their leaders to do the right thing. The right thing is not to be drilling for more fossil fuels. Here is the goal of the Global Climate March “This will be our message as we take to the streets on 28-29 November: Keep fossil fuels in the ground — really, just stop digging and drilling — and finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.” Global Climate March http://350.org/global-climate-march Even if the results of the particular study in this article ‘proves’ Fracking doesn’t harm public health and doesn’t poses threats for economic boons and busts, there are already many, many studies that will prove just the opposite. Fracking should end at New York’s door, not because of any one study; Fracking should end because fossil fuels are financially unsound and they produce more greenhouse gas emissions, instead of reducing them. Not to mention a myriad of other issues—the damage to public transportation infrastructure due to heavy truck traffic, property rights, earthquakes (backed by several studies), and much more. Check the studies, the news, and the concerns about Fracking in New York State here. | URMC researcher gets grant to study health effects of fracking A University of Rochester Medical Center researcher has won a $1.5 million grant to study health effects of fracking. Department of Public Health Sciences assistant professor Elaine Hill won the National Institutes of Health grant to launch a multi-front investigation of the controversial gas-and-oil drilling method. (October 16, 2015) Rochester Business Journal [more on Fracking in our area]
10/17/2015 - Climate Change is going to demand that traditional conservation measures (which we barely practiced anyways) will not be sufficient in a warming world. With Climate Change affecting every aspect of our way of life and our environment at once, we are going to have to prioritize so that we protect and preserve the most important features of our environment as they become severely challenged. The sooner we begin this challenge, like planning for the preservation of critical ecosystems, the better chance that we won’t have to cut our losses at a later time. As things become more dire, we will have to let go of those things that don’t have an immediate role in our preservation. (This will simply become a reality as we cannot save everything, every species, because we’ll run out of money, out of time.) This is why planning is so critical and dragging our feet on addressing Climate Change so tragic. Climate change requires new conservation models, Stanford scientists say In a world transformed by climate change and human activity, Stanford scientists say that conserving biodiversity and protecting species will require an interdisciplinary combination of ecological and social research methods. A threatened tree species in Alaska could serve as a model for integrating ecological and social research methods in efforts to safeguard species that are vulnerable to climate change effects and human activity. In a new Stanford-led study, published online this week in the journalBiological Conservation, scientists assessed the health of yellow cedar, a culturally and commercially valuable tree throughout coastal Alaska that is experiencing climate change-induced dieback. (October 15, 2015) Standford | News [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/17/2015 - As Climate Change threatens our life support system, should we focus on saving individual species or their ecosystems? Do we have a moral responsibility to save certain fish like the Bull Trout? Polar Bears? Or is it more important that we focus on the need to save vital environmental systems that provide air, breakdown waste, provide soil nutrients, and clean our water? If it is the latter, what’s the point of moving species out of the habitats they evolved in lockstep with? Maybe some invasive species will fare better and keep an ecosystem going better than the endemic species because the climate is changing. The problem with that solution, of course, is that we never know the collateral damage of bringing invasive species. Addressing Climate Change is going to mean planning and getting our priorities straight. Scientists Try Radical Move To Save Bull Trout From A Warming Climate Something unusual is happening in America's wilderness — some animals and plants are moving away from their native habitats. The reason is a warming climate. It's getting too hot where they live. Species that can't migrate may perish, so some biologists say we need to move them. But they admit that's a roll of the dice that violates a basic rule of conservation: If you want to keep the natural world "natural," you don't want to move plants and animals around willy-nilly. (October 8, 2015) NPR [on on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
10/16/2015 - The good news: NYC moving closer to zero waste. The bad news: We in the Finger Lakes are getting their trash. Look, the idea behind Zero Waste is to actually reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste so that our way of life mimics nature’s Zero Waste laws—where nothing is wasted. Throwing our ‘stuff’ into landfills, especially railroading one community’s trash to another, is a really bad idea on many levels. It’s not safe, landfills leach toxins into our soil and waters. Throwing millions of tons of stuff that will never break down into life-renewing nutrients into a great big plastic-lined hole in the ground is really stupid—and not sustainable. Food waste to produce methane gas to burn and (as a very potent greenhouse gas) leaks into our atmosphere from landfills, instead of going into composting programs to replenish our soil—which is critical for agriculture and storing carbon. Landfills are trashing our climate. Read this study: “Stop Trashing the Climate” | NYC $3.3B plan could bring loads of trash to Finger Lakes LBANY - Winery owners and environmentalists in the Finger Lakes are protesting a plan by New York City to bring trainloads of trash to the region as part of a 20-year, $3.3 billion deal with the giant Seneca Meadows landfill. The concerns are that the landfill, which some say is the largest in the northeastern United States, is near wineries, a gleaming casino-under-construction and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. The Finger Lakes region already is New York’s trash capital, being home to four of the state’s largest landfills. Fully half of all municipal solid waste that’s buried annually in the state goes to those facilities. One of them, High Acres in Perinton and Macedon, Wayne County, in June became the first landfill in the state to accept regular shipments of trash via rail. Its owner, Waste Management Inc., also has a 20-year deal to accept refuse from New York City. (October 16, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]
10/16/2015 - From November 30th to December 11th the COP21 Paris Climate Conference will determine our fate. Here’s the skinny: WEBZINE "Have you ever heard about "ocean acidification"? Did you know that 20 to 30% of animal and plant species are under threat of extinction? To learn all about COP21 main issues, browse through our webzine and download the following fact sheets." -from COP21/CMP11 for a universal climate agreement
10/16/2015 - Which brings us to ask, what are we doing to prepare wildlife for Climate Change in our Rochester region? How are we helping wildlife adapt to a climate that is warming far faster than anything their species has ever experienced? Climate studies that cover our region make many recommendations to help wildlife, including wildlife transportation corridors so that animals can move across our highways to adapt. We should be shading of our rivers with trees to secure the river banks and create more cool spots for fish species that evolved in cold, oxygen rich waster. (Stocking rivers with fish to fish and releasing thousands of pheasants to shoot don’t count.) The Wildlife Photo of Year Tells Climate Change Tale This year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest winners were officially announced on Wednesday. All the images are stunning displays of the natural world, but this year's winner also has a climate change tale to tell. The image, titled "A Tale of Two Foxes," was taken by amateur photographer Dan Gutoski on the tundra of Wapusk National Park located in the far northeast corner of Manitoba. It shows a red fox with the carcass of an Arctic fox it had killed. To capture the photo, Gutoski spent three hours in -22°F weather waiting for the red fox to finally carry the carcass to another location for storage. The stunning image also shows one of the impacts of climate change. Red foxes are invading the range of Arctic foxes as the temperature warm, putting the two foxes in direct competition for resources. Red foxes are larger and can outcompete Arctic foxes for limited resources. Declining snowpack also makes the Arctic fox's white coat less of an asset when hunting, particularly in fall and spring, while changing plant cover on the tundra is furthering altering prime Arctic fox habitat. (October 14, 2015) Climate Central [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
10/15/2015 - “Americans’ views on climate change have varied with the weather.” Humans. Ya gotta laugh. Americans’ Denial of Climate Change Hits Record Low, Survey Finds It remains unclear how changing views will influence policy Only 16% of Americans believe there is not enough evidence to prove global climate change is real, the lowest percentage since asurvey began asking the question in 2008. The study, which reports the result of a survey of more than 900 Americans from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment, shows that 70% of U.S. residents believe evidence supporting global warming. That’s a 7 percentage point increase over the spring of 2015 and a 10 percentage point increase from last fall. “This is not a trivial jump,” said report author Barry Rabe, a professor at the University of Michigan. “When you see a shift like this in a relatively short period of time, that’s significant.” (October 14, 2015) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/15/2015 - ACTION: From our friends over at American Rivers "Do you remember the "Halliburton Loophole"? That law exempted the natural gas industry from regulations that apply to the injection of undisclosed toxins into groundwater. It led to an explosion of natural gas fracking all across the country. Soon, the House of Representatives will be voting on a bill that could allow the same unrestricted freedom to the hydropower industry. This would allow dam owners to be able to avoid complying with laws like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act that help protect our rivers. Your signature is missing and we need your help to make sure your Member of Congress opposes this bill. Tens of thousands of letters have been sent urging Congress to oppose this loophole. Can you add yours? Send a letter >>"
10/15/2015 - Here’s the short version “The Northeast had its second warmest September on record.” Here’s the longer version: National Overview - September 2015 - from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information
10/15/2015 - Today is tomorrow. Before the 1980’s we used to flush raw sewage into our waters like there was no tomorrow. Montreal banned from dumping 7.5bn litres of sewage in St Lawrence River Federal government steps in shortly before election to stop city diverting effluent into key waterway while it updates treatment facilities The Canadian government has ordered Montreal not to dump seven and a half billion litres of raw sewage into the St Lawrence River as part of a plan to rebuild a riverside expressway. Denis Lebel, the federal infrastructure minister, said on Wednesday that an independent review would be carried out after many Montrealers called for the federal government to step in, a week ahead of national elections. TheConservative national government of Stephen Harper had known about what the city had wanted to do for some time but did not intervene until now. (October 15, 2015) The Guardian [more on Water Quality in our area]
10/14/2015 - State’s firefighting foam to fight probable Bomb Train explosions near our communities would be great if we had our grandfather’s train fires. The potential for these new volatile crude oil shipment via old railroad tracks in rail cars designed for corn syrup will not do. Learn more: “Bakken Breakout Oil Train Invasion of NYS” | State providing foam to fight oil fires New York is deploying 19 trailers equipped with a firefighting foam to local fire departments and county departments to help them fight fires or contain crude oil spills. New York has faced growing concerns about the potential of explosions and spills if trains hauling volatile crude oil were to derail. In May, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said it would develop individual geographic response plans for 20 counties that have the highest risks for a derailment. (October 14, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]
10/13/2015 - Actually, headline should be ‘Climatologists Not Sure How El Nino [and Climate Change] Will Impact Winter Weather In New York This Year’… but including the dramatic effects of the Arctic warming because of Climate Change and how that affects jet stream behavior and water temperatures that do and will greatly influence our winters from now on would still be unfashionable for our public media to publish. Which is to say it will be even harder to predict and plan for this winter and those ahead if our media doesn’t report about the major climate driver—rapid warming due to an increase in manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Climatologists Not Sure How El Nino Will Impact Winter Weather In New York Climatologists are working on winter weather forecasts for the coming season, and weather experts are predicting an El Nino this year. (October 12, 2015) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/13/2015 - Election results can have a profound effect on our collective ability to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. Locally, the most important election is that of the Monroe County Executive. That is why I wrote this essay: “RochesterEnvironment.com endorses Sandy Frankel for Monroe County Executive” | 6 elections to watch before Paris climate summit A shift in public mood at the ballot box can boot out climate laggards or propel them to power. Here are six on the radar The election cycle never ends. Ahead of a decisive climate conference in seven weeks’ time, these are the countries set to elect governments and legislatures. Unpicking long-crafted stances might be dangerous, but not impossible. What bearing could the shuffling of top national posts have on UN climate talks? (October 13, 2015) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/13/2015 - A big component of Climate Change are the myriad issues around public health. How much have our local leaders prepared us for the threats to our health that the consequences of Climate Change will cause? Doctors call for action from front lines of climate change Medical organisations from around the world have come together to call for meaningful and urgent action on climate change, ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris. Coinciding with a World Health Organisation call to action and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ global day of action, the Global Climate and Health Alliance launched the Our Climate, Our Health campaign. The campaign calls on healthcare institutions to step up for climate and health over the next five years. Health professionals know better than most that climate change is already taking a heavy toll, and it is hitting the world’s poorest first and hardest. (October 12, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]
10/13/2015 - Let’s hope Americans get on board with climate science in a time frame that will matter. We’ve already lost precious time wrangling over whether Climate Change is happening and as a result we are going to have to adapt to a lot of warming. Rising numbers of Americans believe climate science, poll shows Level of belief has increased seven percentage points in the past six months as climate change brings weather events closer to home Around 70% of Americans believe in the science behind global warming - the highest level of acceptance in the US since 2008 - according to a new survey. The level of belief has increased seven percentage points in the past six months, the polling by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College shows. The researchers said the significant rise in acceptance is particularly notable among Republicans and evangelical Christian groups. (October 13, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/12/2015 - Four key figures everyone should know as we head towards #COP21 http://gocop21.fr/en - via @COP21 "50 days. In 50 days, on 30 Novembre, the Conference of Paris on climate change (#COP21) will begin. 195 nations will gather until 11 December in Paris-Le Bourget, to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. Great risks exist for our life on earth if an agreement isn't signed. We propose you to find out more on issues, progress already made by negotiators and next steps before Paris. "
10/12/2015 - So what’s with the nearly 10% percent of Americans who don’t think political candidates should understand science? Candidates should be able to at least read, or tie their shoes, right? Nearly 90 Percent Of Americans Think Political Candidates Should Understand Science When it comes to climate change, many politicians who reject mainstream climate science often claim, “I’m not a scientist.” According to a new poll, the majority of Americans are responding to that by saying, “Well, maybe you should be.” In a public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America and ScienceDebate.org and conducted by Zogby Analytics, 87 percent of Americans said that they think candidates running for Congress or president should have a basic understanding of the science that informs public policy decisions. That opinion holds true across the political spectrum, with 92 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of Republicans, and 79 percent of Independents saying that it’s important to them that candidates have a baseline understanding of science. “Evidence from science is the great equalizer in a democracy,” Shawn Otto, chair of ScienceDebate.org, said in a press release. “We are living in a new age when science affects every aspect of public policy, and voters want candidates to give science issues like climate change, healthcare, GMO foods, and jobs in the new tech economy a higher priority.” (October 9, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/12/2015 - Climate Change is a major threat to our wildlife—those creatures that are a crucial part of our ecosystems, which is to say our life support system—but there are many other threats that our experts can barely keep up with. Wildlife are much more than being to harvest and fish, they are integral to our life support system working. We haven’t been treating our wildlife very well. We should change our attitudes towards them. It’s becoming a major crime for folks to mistreat pets, but what about Wildlife? Scientists play catch up as new chemicals contaminate Great Lakes birds Experts say new flame retardants and stain repellents in Great Lakes wildlife offer further evidence of a broken regulatory system Stain repellent and fire retardant chemicals that scientists know little about are increasingly showing up in herring gull eggs around the Great Lakes, spurring concern for potential health impacts. The gulls are considered a sentinel species, and the contaminants appearing in their eggs paint a picture of a shifting chemical profile in the Great Lakes, which holds about 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water. While legacy pollutants, such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), still persist, a growing list of esoteric pollutants is showing up in wildlife. (October 6, 2015) Environmental Health News [more on Wildlife in our area]
10/12/2015 - New York should be striving towards 100% renewable energy instead of increasing the transport of dangerous crude oil (Bomb Trains) through our communities for the burning of more fossil fuels, which will warm up our planet more. Even if we could fix all the problems with the railroad tracks, the rail cars themselves cannot be upgraded to make this kind of dangerous crude oil in fast moving trains safe. Stop Explosive Oil Trains! Find out if you are in the blast zone and sign the petition. There is a fiftyfold increase in local transport of volatile crude oil trains (which are not and cannot be properly designed to carry this dangerous oil) through our region. Check to see if you are in the blast zone, and Take action and put a stop to this! From our friends over at Mothers Out Front! Really take a moment to find out about this clean and present danger in our community and take action here. http://www.mothersoutfront.org/stop_oil_trains | Judge approves $338M for Quebec train derailment victims Tankers carrying highly flammable oil exploded in 2013, killing 47 people in town of Lac-Mégantic A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday approved a $338 million settlement fund for victims of the fiery 2013 oil train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Quebec, clearing the way for payments to victims by year's end. Judge Peter Cary announced his approval after Canadian Pacific dropped its objection and after a Canadian judge gave conditional approval Thursday. Barring any surprises, payments could be made to victims by the end of November or by year's end at the latest, said Robert Keach, a U.S. bankruptcy trustee. About $83 million will be used to settle wrongful death claims. "We don't pretend to suggest that we made up for everything that happened. But within the limits of the civil system, this is substantial compensation for the victims, and they deserve it," Keach said after the brief hearing. (October 9, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Energy in our area]
10/12/2015 - But the other problem with railroading dangerous crude oil (Bomb Trains) through our communities is that even when the railroad companies have “fully complied with all regulations pertaining to crude oil transportation”, the rail cars themselves “are not suitable for flammable cargo. Originally used to haul such substances as corn syrup, the regulators have done nothing to require a safer railcar. “ (from PAUSE People of Albany United for Safe Energy) Read: Citizens Heed Lessons of Lac-Megantic: Oil Trains are too risky for New York | Railroad Agency Details New Rail-Track Standards Federal authorities detailed new rail-track standards on Friday after finding that a broken rail caused an oil train to derail this year in West Virginia. The finding highlighted a main cause of oil train accidents, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, which concluded an eight-month investigation into the derailment of a CSX train near Mount Carbon. Several weeks before the February accident, rail inspectors for CSX detected internal rail flaws on two separate occasions but did not take action in either case, according to the investigation. Federal regulators have stepped up their oversight of the railroad industry during a surge in the transportation of crude oil by train in recent years, which has also brought multiple accidents and spills. (October 9, 2015) New York Times [more on Energy in our area]
10/10/2015 - Those who didn’t cause Climate Change ask that those who did compensate them for all to survive. For those who think the Green Climate Fund is a great big charity give away, they don’t really get the injustice done to many around the world who have had their share of our environment’s resources (air and water and trees and minerals and soil health) taken from them. Nor do those who dismiss this critical need to help the developing nations with money understand that if they don’t help the developing nations will be forced to destroy more of our world’s ecosystems to survive—which is to say compromise more of all of our life support system where things become more dire. It doesn’t make any sense for the developed nations to not fulfill their promise of the $100bn to the developing countries to deal with Climate Change. Vulnerable nations unite to call for greater access to climate funds V20 group of 20 countries most at risk from the effects of climate change call on wealthy nations to meet $100bn pledge to help them tackle global warming Finance ministers from the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change have formed a group to call for greater access to climate finance for adaptation and mitigation in the face of the most devastating effects of global warming. With a collective population of nearly 700 million, the vulnerable twenty, or V20, range from small Pacific nations,such as Vanuatu, to Bangladesh and the Philippines. “In the absence of an effective global response, annual economic losses due to climate change are projected to exceed $400bn by 2030 for the V20, with impacts far surpassing our local or regional capabilities,” said Cesar Purisima, finance minister for the Philippines, at the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF in the Peruvian capital, Lima. (October 9, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/10/2015 - So I guess for Rochester, NY is a good thing that shit doesn’t flow upstream—though this sewage release by Montreal is disconcerting. I know, “Until the 1980s, it was common to dump sewage into the river.” But still, it’s 2015 and we cannot unlearn what we know now about how incredibly irresponsible and unhealthy for our public and our ecosystems dumping sewage is. Montreal's sewage dump saga explained in 5 key points The City of Montreal plans to dump one-third of its sewage into the Saint Lawrence River from Oct. 18 to Oct. 25. The plan has stirred up controversy among politicians and citizens. (October 8, 2015) CBC News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
10/10/2015 - Ocean Acidification, a major component of Climate Change as the oceans are force-fed carbon dioxide, is going to give our way of life indigestion. A more acidic ocean has many consequences. Here’s Where Ocean Acidification Will Hit the U.S. Hardest U.S. coastal communities better start preparing for ocean acidification now, especially if we want scallops, oysters and other shellfish to keep appearing on our dinnerplates. That’s the message of a new study that shows that shellfisheries across the U.S. are more vulnerable to climate change’s less considered counterpart than previously thought. That vulnerability is due to more than changing ocean chemistry. Social and economic factors, local and more distant pollution and natural ocean processes could conspire to make ocean acidification a problem sooner rather than later. (February 23, 2015) WXshift [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/09/2015 - This issue where raw sewage overflows into our waterways because of heavy rainfall is highlighted in this Western New York story. We here in the Rochester region have instances of raw sewage flowing into our waters because of heavy rains (10 million gallons into the Genesee River on June 2nd) in our area also. Though probably not nearly as much as the Buffalo area. Here’s the Big Picture: Since 1956 heavy rainfall events have increased dramatically to 71% because of Climate Change and all communities around the Great Lakes will have to deal with increased flooding, which is to say all communities must be adapting their sewage systems to address this consequence of Climate Change or we will be continually inundated with raw sewage into our waters. How is our local media covering this issue? Remember, it’s also important to remember the Rochester is at the down flow of the Great Lakes—so we should be paying attention to how all communities around the Great Lakes are handling flooding and sewage issues. State rejects Cheektowaga’s sewer plan, again For the second time in five years, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has rejected Cheektowaga’s plan to reduce sewer overflows into Scajaquada Creek and other local waterways. The DEC says the town’s latest plan does not adequately address a core problem, the diversion of runoff into the sewage system from downspouts and sump pumps. One town council member, however, maintains that some of the blame lies with the DEC for taking three months to respond to the proposed plan. (October 2, 2015) Investigative Post [more on Water Quality in our area]
10/09/2015 - We Rochesterians should be watching this sewage discharge issue going on in Montreal. We are nearby and we share the same waters. Documents show Environment Canada knew in 2014 about Montreal raw-sewage plan Yet federal environment minister Leona Aglukkaq says she learned only last week about Montreal plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence. While the federal environment minister says she found out only recently about Montreal’s plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River, documents obtained by The Canadian Press show her department has known since 2014. Leona Aglukkaq tweeted Wednesday that her office learned last week of the wastewater dump plan, which has become fodder in the federal election campaign and also been panned by environmental activist Erin Brockovich. “Last week, my office learned of Montreal’s plan to dump billions of litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence,” Aglukkaq tweeted. (October 7, 2015) theStar.com [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
10/09/2015 - ACTION: No matter how freaking insane drilling for fossil fuels in the pristine Arctic that is warming and changing our climate and our weather patterns, the fossil fuel industry can only focus on getting more oil and they will never stop. So we have to keep stopping them. Please take action again and again to stop drilling for fossil fuels in the Arctic. Stop Hilcorp Alaska from drilling in the Arctic Even though Shell has announced they will end oil exploration off of Alaska's Arctic Coast "for the foreseeable future," another oil company -- Hilcorp Alaska LLC -- is trying to obtain permits to drill in the Arctic Ocean. Now, it’s up to dedicated activists like you to make sure they never get the opportunity to drill. Hilcorp Alaska’s proposal is unbelievable. The oil company wants to build a man-made gravel island off the coast of Alaska and build a pipeline from the island to connect to another pipeline on mainland Alaska! The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has an easy question to answer -- would this plan have outrageous environmental impacts on our delicate Arctic ecosystem? Tell the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to keep dirty fuels in the ground and reject Hilcorp Alaska’s plan to drill in the Arctic. Sierra Club.
10/09/2015 - Years ago the New York Power Authority did try to advance offshore wind power dramatically but there was so much community pushback that the NYPA gave up. [See NYPA's proposed GLOW project scrapped - Canandaigua, NY - MPNnow MPNnow.com — The Board of Trustees at the New York Power Authority voted today to end the proposed Great Lakes Offshore Wind (GLOW) project, citing reasons of its high cost and the turbulent economy. The project, proposed in 2009, would have put multiple wind turbines off the coast of Lake Ontario to generate electricity. It would have marked the first freshwater wind energy farm in the United States. (September 27, 2011) Home - Canandaigua, NY - MPNnow ] I and many others had been advocating long for the GLOW program to work, with a very strong push from NYPA, but we couldn’t convince those opposing it how important it was. Then Fracking loomed over our lives and the threat of a massive fossil fuel infrastructure loomed until it was banned. Hopefully, the public have reconsidered the importance of using offshore wind to replace our use of fossil fuel or we are very likely to fall victim to the lure of a fossil fueled future again. We have to block bad energy options and embrace good energy options in a time of Climate Change—or we will cook. Climate-Change Activists Call for Commitment to Offshore Wind Power Climate activists say the answer to global climate change is blowing in the wind - right off New York's shores. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced a four-point plan to fight climate change, but Mark Dunlea, who chairs the Green Education and Legal Fund, said the governor has overlooked a report that outlines how the state could get all its power from renewable sources in just 15 years. "That envisioned that 40 percent of the power would come from offshore wind," Dunlea said, "and there have been a number of studies showing that that's more than feasible." (October 9, 2015) Public News Service [more on Wind Power in our area]
10/08/2015 - Just a friendly reminder. New York State does believe in the science of Climate Change and that it will affect us. Climate Change Risks and Opportunities for New York Why the Climate is Changing Greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel combustion have built up to levels never seen in the atmosphere since the beginning of human society. The heat trapped by these gases already has raised the planet's average temperature and disrupted its climate. And still extraction and burning of coal, oil and gas increase The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
10/08/2015 - Solar Power looks very bright. Genesee County lands solar company, 700-plus jobs A solar company announced plans Wednesday to hire between 600 and 1,000 workers over the next five years for a new $700 million manufacturing plant near Batavia that should get under construction in the spring and open in 2017. The 130,000-square-foot facility, which 1366 Technologies will lease for the next decade, will be housed at the Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, aka STAMP, in Alabama, Genesee County. It provides the first anchor tenant for the industrial park and, officials said, should bolster negotiations already ongoing with other, larger potential tenants. (October 7, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
10/08/2015 - Care about Water Quality? Itching to get others to care and monitor our environment? Become the Media! Use your social media to get others involved. Mainstream media ain’t doing such a hot job on our environment—especially as our planet warms. Getting the information out may be up to you. Using Social Media to Monitor Water Quality and Public Health In most cases, people are smart enough to stay away from polluted water. They may be itching, however, to tell other people about it. Dr. Matthew Keifer, a member of the IJC’s Health Professionals Advisory Board (HPAB), says social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the first places people turn when they want to share and find information on public health topics. “The best way to take the temperature of society in those areas is to look at what people are talking about,” Keifer said. (October 2, 2015) International Joint Commission (IJC) [more on Water Quality in our area]
10/08/2015 - Great article about monitoring invasive species in our local Finger Lakes. Invasive species threaten Rochester lake health The City of Rochester’s primary water supply draws from Hemlock and Canadice Lake. Among the Finger Lakes, Canadice Lake is one of the smallest and was the primary location for Mitchell Owens’ graduate research for The College at Brockport’s Environmental Science and Biology departments. Owens investigated Conesus, Honeoye, Hemlock and Canadice Lakes for invasive macroinvertebrate species. As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, “macroinvertebrates are organisms that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Examples of aquatic macroinvertebrates include insects in their larval or nymph form, crayfish, clams, snails and worms.” (October 7, 2015) The Stylist - the student newspaper of the College a Brockport [more on Finger Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]
10/07/2015 - If you’re thinking we must use nuclear energy to power our Climate Change future, think about this Great Lakes nuclear storage issue. There is no room for error is this storage idea that will persist for thousands of years. Really, think about this. Always inherent in problem of nuclear power has been what to do with the waste—which is a public and environmental health contaminant for centuries. If the solutions that folks are thinking we’ll come up with eventually includes putting this toxic waste near the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world, then we must demand of nuclear power advocates that they have a viable solution for waste Now—not continually parade some nebulous faith in our technical prowess that we will eventually take care of this matter, but actually ends up with dangerously crazy ideas like storing this waste near the Great Lakes. Of course, we aren’t even having this debate in Rochester, even though this issue concerns the Great Lakes—which, of course, is where Rochester, New York resides. Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley lending voice to nuclear waste debate Sarnia's mayor is among an international array of speakers gathering in Toronto Tuesday, trying to bring the subject of a controversial storage proposal for nuclear waste back into the spotlight, as the Canadian federal election campaign enters its final weeks. Mike Bradley, a vocal opponent of Ontario Power Generation's deep geological repository proposal to entomb low-to-intermediate-level radioactive waste in 450-million-year-old rock near Kincardine, is one of several speakers at the Toronto City Hall town-hall-style meeting. (October 5, 2015) The Observer [more on Great Lakes and Energy in our area]
10/07/2015 - Looks like there are three near-Rochester (Buffalo, Ithaca, Syracuse) October 14th National Day of Action events. Be nice to have a Rochester event. “TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, WE NEED EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE. Take the pledge to support the People’s Climate Movement national day of action October 14th, 2015. Plan an action, join an action, or add your voice today.” http://peoplesclimate.org/
10/07/2015 - Climate Change and the media. The Guardian’s emphasis on hope from a media leader showing the way to responsible journalism in a time of planetary warming. Our media needs to connect the dots and frame Climate Change as a reality check that needs to be addressed with justice and hope by humanity. The media is crucial and The Guardian is a great model for other media going forward. A story of hope: the Guardian launches phase II of its climate change campaign With crucial climate talks on the horizon, Keep it in the ground turns its focus to hope for the future – the power to change and the solar revolution. Join us and help make that change happen Get all Keep it in the ground stories by selecting ‘Follow series’ in the Guardian app and sign up via email to get involved A year ago, more than 300,000 people took to the streets in New York to demand action from their leaders on climate change. Nearly the same number took part in similar events in 161 countries across the globe. For 24 hours, the sun did not set on the largest climate protest in history. These grassroots activists are part of a powerful global movement for change that has continued to grow as crucial UN climate talks in Paris in December have drawn nearer, bolstered by interventions from other important global voices –Pope Francis, Graça Machel, Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, to name a few. The pope last week repeated his message of climate justice and change to world leaders at the UN. (October 5, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/07/2015 - With Climate Change we are all potential South Carolina flood victims. We need to connect the dots and plan accordingly. S.C. flood is 6th 1,000-year rain since 2010 The biblical flooding in South Carolina is at least the sixth so-called 1-in-1,000 year rain event in the U.S. since 2010, a trend that may be linked to factors ranging from the natural, such as a strong El Niño, to the man-made, namely climate change. So many "1-in-1,000 year" rainfalls is unprecedented, said meteorologist Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield, a global reinsurance firm. "We have certainly had our fair share in the United States in recent years, and any increasing trend in these type of rainfall events is highly concerning," Bowen said. A "1-in-1,000 year event" means that there's a 1 in 1,000 (or 0.1% chance) of it happening in any given year in a given location, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. (October 6, 2015) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/06/2015 - Why do some media suggest a link between the recent flooding across South Carolina with Climate Change and some do not? The answer may seem obvious to many (the alleged doubt over climate science), but it’s worth pausing to consider this new media phenomenon. No local Rochester media has linked the flooding in South Carolina with Climate Change and most media around the USA probably haven’t either. But here Time (see below) is linking the two and in other news around the world there is a link being made. This phenomenon where some media plug in the best science about Climate Change and others do not is dysfunctional. This means if you are getting your news from a media that has decided to not connect the dots with Climate Change, you’re going to get a different picture of reality from those who attend to a responsible media. Climate Change reporting shouldn’t at this point in time be about opinion and framing the argument by our media anymore. Think of gun violence—where opinions about gun control varies so wildly we cannot even have an intelligent discussion on the topic without everyone going ballistic. But all media report when people are shot by guns. There are no media that takes the position that there never any instances of people getting shot with guns. Shouldn’t this objectivity also pertain to reporting on Climate Change? When the scientists say that the increase frequency and intensity of storms could very well be due to Climate Change, shouldn’t that be reported in our media so we can determine what is actually going on in our world? How can we make responsible decisions on planning for our future if our media isn’t portraying reality correctly? Imagine how even crazier the discussions would be about gun violence if folks on one side of the issue only listened to media that reported on people being killed and injured by guns and folks on the other side never heard of such a thing? Our media needs to evolve quickly on the settled science of Climate Change or will never be able to adapt. Why ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime’ Flooding Keeps Happening Climate change is making rare weather events less rare At least nine people have died in flooding across South Carolina that has left city streets submerged in water, destroyed homes and closed more than 100 bridges. Nikki Haley, the state’s governor, described the disaster as one of such an epic scale that science suggests it would only occur once every 1,000 years. A flooding disaster of this scale was unlikely to be sure, scientists say, but climate change has transformed once-in-a-lifetime events into periodic occurrences. The flooding may have been hard to predict, but it should no longer come as a surprise. (October 5, 2015) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/06/2015 - Because “Soil stores vast amounts of carbon, far more than all the carbon in the world’s forests and atmosphere combined…” protecting our soil should be a main component of addressing Climate Change. France has a great plan for its soil – and it’s not just about wine French wine lovers have always taken their soil very seriously. But now the country’s government has introduced fresh reasons for the rest of the world to pay attention to their terroir. As industrial emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase and concerns about climate change grow, scientists and policy wonks are searching for potential solutions. Could part of the answer lie in the soil beneath our feet? French agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll thinks so. Soil stores vast amounts of carbon, far more than all the carbon in the world’s forests and atmosphere combined. Plants take carbon out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis and when they die the carbon they stored is returned to the soil. (October 5, 2015) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/06/2015 - Will the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP) undermine our efforts to address Climate Change? Many environmental groups think so and aren’t giving up attempts to stop it in the next 90 days. Environmentalists: The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement Is A Disaster For Climate Change After years of meetings, months of Congressional debates, and days of around-the-clock negotiations, the United States and 11 other countries reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement (TPP) on Monday. If adopted, the TPP will eliminate or reduce tariffs between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. But while it specifically addresses some environmental concerns — such as trade of illegally harvested resources or wildlife trafficking — climate change activists saw Monday’s announcement as the culmination of a long-watched train wreck. “It’s still the same disaster for climate change it was three months ago,” 350.org’s Karthik Ganapathy told ThinkProgress. (October 5, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress
10/05/2015 - How long will mainstream and local media report on “1,000 floods” and “Unprecedented” weather and not mention Climate Change? Of course, many media will make the connections because it is more likely that more heavy rains will occur during Climate Change. Climate Change is about planning. But we cannot plan if we don’t connect the dots between the new extreme weather and Climate Change. Unprecedented rains lead to disastrous flooding in South Carolina Probable ties to climate change Extreme rainfall events such as this one are becoming more common and more intense as the world warms in response to human emissions of greenhouse gases, studies show. Across the U.S. as a whole, the frequency of 2-inch or greater rainstorms has increased in recent decades, and extreme precipitation events have been on the rise across the northern hemisphere as well. A Climate Central analysis released in May found that 40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours (the days where total precipitation exceeded the top 1% of all rain and snow days) since 1950. However, South Carolina was one of the few states that did not see an increase, based on that analysis. In fact, it saw a slight decrease in the frequency of heavy precipitation events. Neighboring states, including Georgia and North Carolina, did see increases, though. (October 4, 2015) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/05/2015 - As it looks like right now, we here in the Rochester regions won’t get to see the documentary “This Changes Everything” until January. Maybe one of our local theaters will get an earlier showing. Meanwhile, I hope you’ve read this critical book for our times on Climate Change—“This Changes Everything”. “Forget everything you think you know about global warming. The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon—it’s about capitalism. The convenient truth is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.”
10/05/2015 - When insurers are concerned about Climate Change action, it’s like them wanting to know if you have a sprinkler system installed in your house to figure out your home insurance rates—or whether to give you insurance at all. Continually recovering from extreme weather is going to be part of our living on a warmer world and if our insurers cannot cope with the increase in claims, there will be no recovering. Even the insurers of last resort, you government (FEMA), cannot cope with recovery if Climate Change hasn’t been addressed by bringing down greenhouse gases (mitigation) or fortifying our natural and build environments (infrastructures) if they are underfunded and overwhelmed. Climate Change is about planning. Insurance bosses call for collective climate change action Insurers have called for urgent action to address climate change following a report this week from the UK regulator highlighting the risks which climate change poses to the insurance industry. Fifteen senior insurance executives wrote an open letter to Bank of England governor Mark Carney on Thursday saying they welcomed the Prudential Regulation Authority's (PRA) report. (October 1, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/03/2015 - One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to articulate the importance of addressing Climate Change locally is because most folks don’t understand the importance of our infrastructures. It’s pretty amazing that we have studies that have to ask, “What is infrastructure and why it is so important?” We aren’t even maintaining the infrastructures we have—water, waste water systems, telecommunications, transportation, and much more—let alone preparing them for more extreme weather (frequent heavy flooding, and heat) and all the other consequences that come with Climate Chang in our area. We should be voting in the up-and-coming elections based on how the candidates will address these issues. But we’ve barely had a dialogue during this critical year on Climate Change in our local elections. For those wondering in the back of their minds, at what point will Climate Change affect me personally? it is at the level of massive and frequent infrastructure breakdowns that they will notice—and they will be sorry they voted for leaders who hadn’t prepared them and their built systems that make our way of life possible. If you’re thinking, we’ll just address these infrastructure problems when they happen, you just don’t know Climate Change. BTW: These Climate Change threats to our local infrastructure are not simply my opinion. My insights are based on three official climate studies that address our region: Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) sponsored by NYSERDA, the New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report, and the report on the “Northeast” by the National Climate Assessment, which is to say the US government. | Road and bridge funding sought by engineers and government leaders New York's infrastructure is crummy and getting worse, as anyone who drives on the state's roads probably already realizes. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the state's infrastructure a C- in a report card it released this morning (the report is attached at the bottom of this post). But the grade is boosted by B- grades on parks and solid waste infrastructure. The state's roads get a D- and its bridges a D+. In Rochester, the roads are in such rough enough shape that they cost drivers an average $402 in repairs annually, according to the ASCE report. In Buffalo, the roads suck a little less, apparently, since they cost drivers there an average of $293 annually. The ASCE looked at other areas, too. Drinking water infrastructure receives a C, for example, and the state's waste water systems get a D. (September 29, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]
10/03/2015 - We have been using the Great Lakes for our toilet for so long we’ve long since monitored what we throw into it. For those though think that these chemicals (triclosan and triclocarban) that they’ve never heard of are just another way scientists and the media keep bugging them about environmental problems fail to consider that these continual stories about environmental damage are the result of our not taking a proactive, a precautionary principle, approach to our environment. We have trashed first and asked questions about the consequences later. Our way of life has to change so we can have a sustainable environment. There’s probably a lot more information coming about how our wasteful and dismissive attitude towards our environment is going reveal more challenges to our ecosystems—not because scientists have nothing better to do than depress us, but because we are learning a lot more about how our ecosystems work and how finely tuned they are and how even small disturbances can have dramatic consequences. With our environment, what you don’t know can hurt you. The chemicals in some everyday soaps threaten Great Lakes water quality Ingredient in antimicrobial personal products that is washing down the drain may be putting freshwater ecosystems at risk You may not have heard of triclosan, but washing your hands with Dial anti-bacterial soap or brushing your teeth with Colgate Total is likely polluting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario with the chemical. Scientists remain unsure about the scope of the problem because they lack local data. But samples from Lake Superior show a troubling trend: Popular antimicrobial personal products are washing down the drains of our sinks and bathtubs into the Great Lakes. Once there, the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban damage freshwater ecosystems, some scientists say. (October 3, 2015) The Buffalo News [more on the Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
10/03/2015 - Maybe in the world of climate diplomacy there are no penalties for the countries who haven’t pledged for the COP21 climate pact, just reproachful gazes. But in the real world there are catastrophic penalties for all the countries of the world, all the ecosystems, and all life if all nations don’t come together and bring down our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Hall of shame: Who hasn’t pledged yet to UN climate pact? Nearly 50 countries missed the UN deadline for carbon-cutting plans. Whether due to limited means, sloth or belligerence, here are the big ones not playing ball In the world of climate diplomacy there are no penalties, just reproachful gazes. As it stands, 49 countries covering about 10% of global greenhouse gases according to EU 2012 data, might get the silent treatment at a Paris summit in December. At the close of UN talks in Poland in 2013, countries who were “ready to do so” were invited to produce an “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) by the first quarter of 2015. (October 2, 2015) ClimateHome [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/03/2015 - Over two busloads (including many on trains and vehicles) of concerned local folks contributed to an incredible 400,000 people who marched in New York City on September 21st of last year for the People’s Climate March. We were marching on that historic day to get our leaders to act on Climate Change. The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), an organization of 48 organizations (and counting), grew out of that effort to get Rochesterians to the People’s Climate March. One of the ways we were able to quickly bring together a coalition, “including businesses, churches, political offices, environmental groups, and other nonprofits”, was through an online ‘hub’ on the PeoplesClimate.org’s website. Here’s is that story of how a temporary coalition of all kinds of groups from around the worlds gathered together online and contributed to the success of the Peoples Climate March. THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH After all of the hype, where is the People’s Climate Movement? The People’s Climate March last fall in New York City was a monumental feat of organizing prowess. Seasoned environmentalists from big-budget nonprofits worked with grassroots activists from scrappy community-based groups to pull together the largest environmental demonstration in history. The motto “To change everything, we need everyone” was prominently displayed on the homepage of PeoplesClimate.org. To encourage inclusivity, the international environmental group 350.org hired a contractor to implement an online platform that supported decentralized network organizing. The platform was an important tool for getting people, especially those outside New York City, to the march. It made it easy for anyone to participate, even if they were not a member of a big environmental group, through a system of “hubs” that invited people to join based on geographic-, religious-, community-, or issue-based identities. However, after the march was over—after the headlines had been made—financial, technical, and administrative support for the hubs ended, in spite of declarations that the march would be “about more than just a single day.” (May 20, 2015) Civic Hall [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/02/2015 - Remember: insects--which carry EEE, West Nile Virus, Dengue fever, and malaria—will flourish on Climate Change. We should plan for this eventuality so we don’t end up knee-deep in pesticides. Second person in NYS dies from EEE A second person in New York State has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The Oswego County Health Department says the adult in the Town of Albion, in Oswego County, died after being hospitalized with the illness. A second person in New York State has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The Oswego County Health Department says the adult in the Town of Albion, in Oswego County, died after being hospitalized with the illness. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare, but serious, viral infection that is transmitted through bites from infected mosquitoes. (October 2, 2015) Webster Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]
10/02/2015 - Outside the world of football, ‘punt’ means to avoid an issue you should be addressing. Like Monroe County would rather not ban the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads because that would be so anti-free market and pro Big Government. On the other hand, the county doesn’t want to look like they are indifferent to water quality issues—just when they won a great big award from the Water Environment Federation. In football, going for a punt shows leadership, outside of football, not so much. County Republicans punt on microbead ban A Democratic proposal to ban the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads may not doomed after all. Republicans on the Monroe County Legislature's Agenda/Charter committee last night referred the measure to the county administration for further study. Members of the GOP caucus have said that the issue should be handled at the federal level, and it appeared they'd reject the legislation. Similar bills have been passed in Erie and Chautauqua counties with Democratic and Republican support. (September 30, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Water Quality in our area]
10/02/2015 - Save this date and our planet: a heads up, the Rochester community is in planning a local action in Rochester around the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris. More to come as I find out more. If you and your group want in, please show up “Thursday, October 15th at 2pm, St. Peter's Kitchen, 681 Brown St., Rochester, NY 14611 *Entrance and Parking is around the back of the building.” Don’t let your planet go down without a fight.
10/02/2014 - Trust me, when the public finds out that raw sewage is going to be put into our waterways—they will give a shit! There is no good reason why in 2015 we need to use our waterways as a toilet. St. Lawrence raw sewage dump on hold after public outcry Mayor Denis Coderre orders stop to work that would have released untreated wastewater into river The City of Montreal is putting the brakes on its plan to release untreated wastewater directly into the St. Lawrence River next month. The city says it has to do important work on a major sewer interceptor, starting Oct. 18 and lasting about one week. Earlier this week, the city said it had no other option but to divert about eight billion litres of untreated wastewater from the sewers into the St. Lawrence. The province's Environment Ministry has approved the decision. However, the city is now reconsidering the plan after news of the sewage release became public this week. (October 1, 2015) CBC News [more on Water Quality in our area]
10/02/2015 - Efforts by the public as citizen science could & should vastly increase our understanding and monitoring of Climate Change. “Citizen science encourages members of the public to voluntarily participate in the scientific process. Whether by asking questions, making observations, conducting experiments, collecting data, or developing low-cost technologies and open-source code, members of the public can help advance scientific knowledge and benefit society.” Accelerating Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing to Address Societal and Scientific Challenges Summary: Today, the White House is hosting a forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing. While only a fraction of Americans are formally trained as professional scientists and engineers, everyone can contribute to science, engineering, and technology through open science and innovation approaches, such as citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. Citizen science encourages members of the public to voluntarily participate in the scientific process. Whether by asking questions, making observations, conducting experiments, collecting data, or developing low-cost technologies and open-source code, members of the public can help advance scientific knowledge and benefit society. Through crowdsourcing – an open call for voluntary assistance from a large group of individuals – Americans can study and tackle complex challenges by conducting research at large geographic scales and over long periods of time in ways that professional scientists working alone cannot easily duplicate. These challenges include understanding the structure of proteins related viruses in order to support development of new medications, or preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. (September 30, 2015) The White House
10/02/2015 - Scientists say we should bring climate temperatures back down to preindustrial levels. We’ve increase climate temperatures to about 1C above those averages. At the Copenhagen climate talks the world agreed to keep climate temperatures at 2C, which is what the COP21 Paris treaty this year is struggling to achieve. But it looks like present efforts would only reduce climate temperatures to 1C from its present trajectory for 3.5C by 2100. If we fail altogether to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, we’re slated for about 4.5C. Some say, 4.5 is game over. Some say, 3.5 is unendurable. Some say, 2C is dangerously high and our lives will be dramatically altered. Some say, the 1C we’ve already warmed our climate has set in motion catastrophic sea level rise, has cause climate refugees, extreme weather, and jeopardizes our food production. And some say, humanity thrived in the Holocene which gave us a stable climate temperature for 10,000 years and that’s where we ought to set the thermostat given that we haven’t a clue as to how our planet and all the beings on it will adjust to a tenfold increase in climate temperatures. Time passes. Offers for Paris Climate Talks Would Reduce Warming by 1°C Warming could be reduced from 4.5˚C to 3.5˚C under INDCs submitted to date The current national offers of climate action submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would reduce projected warming by approximately 1°C, according to a new analysisreleased today from Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan. A Paris agreement based on these offers would put the world on track for a global temperature increase of 3.5°C (6.3°F), with a range of uncertainty from 2.1 to 4.6°C (3.7 to 8.4°F), down from the 4.5°C (8.1°F) of warming above pre-industrial levels if nations continue on the business-as-usual track. (September 28, 2015) Climate Interactive [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/01/2015 - Another chance for Monroe County Executive candidates to dialogue together about their positions on Climate Change dashed. On the first forum, the press nor the GOP candidate didn’t show up. Three more chances yet to come. Will this race, like the Rochester’s mayor’s race last year, occur without talking about adapting to Climate Change locally and how our local leaders will lead and plan and educate the public on this worldwide crisis? Is the public OK with Climate Change getting buried in this critical election? Time passes. County executive forum fizzles It was a candidates night that wasn't. A real estate developers' group was expected to hear Wednesday night from Monroe County executive candidates Cheryl Dinolfo, a Republican, and Sandra Frankel, a Democrat. While the women were scheduled to speak separately, it was one of few times so far this election season that both were expected to publicly address the same event. Frankel spoke and left to attend another event, but Dinolfo arrived about an hour after she was scheduled to talk, and after most people had left the legislative clambake at Locust Hill Country Club. Dinolfo said she ran into a scheduling conflict — she was at an earlier business event that ran late and was unable to leave sooner. She apologized to organizers with the upstate New York chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and asked to meet with them soon. (October 1, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
10/01/2015 - The City of Rochester, NY has a new website design. A comprehensive Climate Action plan would look very nice on it. Buried inside this new design is the “Energy Management and Climate Action Status Report” but it seems to be incomplete. We were told back in January (See “Rochester to undertake citywide climate inventory” in Rochester City Newspaper) that the City of Rochester was “hiring a consultant to help it put together a Climate Action Plan” where the City says “It's important for the City of Rochester to be viewed as a leader in the climate change fight.” Time passes.
10/01/2015 - On the other hand, this VW scandal on using a “defeat device” to rig emissions tests on diesel engines could spark governments and environmental groups to test all the environmental claims of all industries. Which would wake us up that fudging environmental emission figures is a dangerous delusion we cannot afford. If this scandal goes beyond VW, the wheels will come off an entire industry Other carmakers deny they have cheated tests. But the consequences will be seismic if the guilt spreads to Volkswagen’s rivals, or to petrol engines Everyone does it. These are the words that have often sparked history’s great corporate scandals. Companies or industries become detached from reality, and illegal or improper practices become seen as normal. It eventually ends in disaster. This was the case for traders and Libor, and now it could be the case for the automotive industry. At present, only Volkswagen has admitted using a “defeat device” to rig emissions tests on diesel engines. Other leading carmakers, such as BMW and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, have fiercely denied manipulating data. However, the slide in the shares of all carmakers last week suggests that many people aren’t so sure. (September 27, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
10/01/2015 - Take poll: What do you think, should New York State continue to burn coal for energy? Hint: It will wreck your children’s future.
10/01/2015 - Thanks to Indymedia, Rochester, NY we got coverage of our local People's Climate March in Solidarity with Pope Francis. This is the large downtown, police escorted, rally with lots of folks on the 24th —that all the other local media did not report. There were lots of labor and environmental leaders along with candidates for the up-and-coming local elections who validated the connection between what is going on internationally, nationally, and locally on Climate Change. Please forward this news link all over as a verification that this event did occur, that the rest of the local public needs to be aware of it, and that Climate Change is local too. People's Climate March in Solidarity with Pope Francis Marchers met at Rochester's Liberty Pole on September 24 2015 in an event to call attention to Climate Change. The march coincides with Pope Francis' visit to the United States. In June the Pope published an Encyclical (official proclamation) in which he said “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” (September 26, 2015) Rochester Indy Media [more on Climate Change in our area]